Religious parties field record 460 candidates on NA seats

| MMA takes lead with 192 aspirants, TLP stands second with 178

LAHORE - Religious parties have fielded the highest number of candidates on the National Assembly seats for the first time in the country’s history, focusing on all the provinces and breaking all past records.

Although Jamaat-e-Islami had come up with a long list of aspirants in 1970 against the then nominees of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s PPP and Sheikh Mujeeb’s Awami League in East and West Pakistan, and Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal had also fielded candidates across the country in 2002, the number stands the highest this time.

More than 460 aspirants fielded separately by MMA, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, Milli Muslim League-backed Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek and other small entities might not be able to create any upset except on a few seats in KP and Balochistan, they would certainly play a decisive role in the victory and defeat of PML-N, PTI and PPP candidates on a number of seats.

The election results would show total religious vote bank in Pakistan besides clearly narrating the number of well wishers of each party, defining its political weight and putting it at a bargaining position with mainstream political parties in next elections.

The MMA, an alliance of five religio-political parties—JUI-F, JI, JUP, Islami Tehreek and Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith – representing all schools of thought (Brelvi, Deobani, Shia and Ahle Hadith), has come up with a list of some 192 plus candidates on NA seats, mainly focusing on KP and Balochistan. The MMA has skipped only three seats (NA 3, NA-40 and NA 44) of total 51 in KP/Fata and one (NA 269) out of Balochistan’s total 16 in a seat adjustment with other parties. It has not introduced any candidate on 65 seats of Punjab’s total 141 and seven of total 61 of Sindh for different reasons.

The MMA leaders claimed they would give surprising results in the election and make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state. “We will not only form government in KP but also emerge powerful parties in Balochistan, Sindh and the Punjab. People will elect clean leadership on July 25,” said Amirul Azeem, JI’s central leader and MMA candidate in NA-135, Lahore.

The Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, a political face of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, came up with a list of 178 candidates across the country. Led by firebrand cleric Allama Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the TLPR gained popularity on the issue of Khatm-e-Nabuwat and showed surprising results in the by-polls held in Punjab and KP a few months before the end of the PML-N government’s tenure. The TLP, mainly representing Brelvi school of thought, mainly focused on the Punjab, but fielded 16 candidates in KP, 32 in Sindh and six in Balochistan. It introduced three candidates on three seats of Islamabad, but failed to put any candidate on 12 seats of Fata recently merged with KP. Absence of Brelvi vote bank in Fate is considered the main reason behind it. Since the TLP is a single party against the five-party alliance of MMA, it can be rightly described the party which fielded more candidates as compared to other religious entities.

TLP leader Pir Ijaz Ashrafi said the people across the country would vote for those who stood firm to protect the finality of prophethood (Khatm-e-Nabuwat). He claimed the hypocrisy of so-called religious parties and leaders of political parties exposed badly in Khatm-e-Nabuwat Movement and all those opportunists would have to face the rage of the people of Pakistan.

Backed by MML, the political face of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Allah-o-Akbar Tehreek, introduced 75 candidates on NA seats. It mainly focused on the Punjab, although it did not field candidates in important districts of central and southern Punjab, including Khushab, Mianwali, Bhakkar, Jhang, Vehari, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Layyah and Rajanpur. The Tehreek fielded only one candidate in Bajaur Agency (NA-41) and five in Balochistan — NA-260, Nasirabad, NA-267, Quetta, NA-268, Mastung/Chagai and NA-270 and NA-271 of Makran division. In KP, it fielded candidates on NA-4, Swat, NA-5, Upper Dir, NA-6/NA7, Lower Dir, NA-11, Shangla, NA-14, Mansehra, and NA-17, Haripur. In Sindh, it nominated candidates on two seats of Shaheed Benazirabad (NA-213/NA-214), one seat of Tharparkar (NA-222), one seat of Hyderabad (NA-226) and five seats of Karachi (NA-242, NA-243, NA-244, NA-250 and NA- 251.

MML Spokesperson Nadeem Awam said that ECP did not comply with the court order by not registering MML but despite that the party leadership went into the poll. He said the MML was promoting the Pakistan Ideology and believed in pious politics. He claimed the MML backed candidates will give surprise at many seats.

Maulana Samiul Haq’s Jamiat Ulema-i-Islami, Sahibzada Hamid Raza’s Sunni Tehreek, Shia group Majlise Wahdatul Muslimeen besides some other small religious entities also fielded more than a dozen candidates in different areas of the country.


Religious parties field record 460 candidates on NA seats

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt